The escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat, from a supposed maximum security prison in upstate New York, brought up a touchy subject for “homeland security” proponents. After six days of an army of law enforcement failing to locate the pair, it was conjectured in the media that the convicted killers might make a break for Canada. After all, their ingenious escape required considerably more skill and luck than crossing that border, regardless of the fact that the broadcast media has made sure that everyone knows what they look like.
Before 9-11, the Canadian border was very much a free pass zone, where many of the 2 million illegal immigrants who are not from Latin American cross over largely unimpeded. When it was discovered that several of the 9-11 hijackers crossed into the U.S. from Canada, it was belatedly determined that someone ought to be minding the store, because not everyone in Canada was “friendly.” There is still no fence anywhere along the 4,000 miles or so length of the U.S.-Canadian border—since Canadians would take offense to the suggestion that they were a “threat” to the U.S.—but there are checkpoints on road entry points, and cameras and ground sensors in rural areas. But the Government Accounting Office has found that only 32 miles of that border is adequately under surveillance.
Thus while it is true that unsuspecting border crossers who have done so undisturbed for years to visit friends or go to a park are now encountering the attention of border agents, there is still—as a report on CNN demonstrated—lots of places where someone can cross the border without being noticed, or at least evade border agents by not lingering in one place long enough for them to catch you.
Mother Jones magazine published an article in which it was stated that immigration authorities detained 59,000 people who tried to enter the country illegally “other than Mexico” in 2010, many from “special interest” countries that are hotbeds of terrorism. Would it be surprising to discover that this is just a tiny fraction of the total who attempted to gain entry into the U.S. from points “other than Mexico”? Would it be surprising to learn that Canada, because it isn’t on any terrorist’s list of targets, would be somewhat more lackadaisical about who it allows to “visit” the country, who then perhaps would take a side trip to the U.S., just as a curious “tourist”? After all, the “millennium bomber,” Ahmed Ressam, was given political asylum by Canada, where he became employed in do-it-yourself high-explosive “training.”
The reality is that it has been recognized, despite insane commentary from the likes of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, that the principle threat of terrorism into the country comes not from our heavily-guarded southern border with its river and fence barriers, but our lightly-protected northern border. You think terrorists don’t know that? Why wouldn’t escaped murderers like Matt and Sweat not know that? Has racism and bigotry against Hispanic laborers clouded people’s minds that much?